Flagship events
Retour à laccueil : Home (English) > Visit > Flagship events > Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche 2011 : Le Yéti de Fred Sapey-Triomphe
Enlarge the picture

The first night-time trail through the streets of Paris and its contemporary-art scene took place on 5 October 2002, and the opportunity for anyone to explore artistic creation for a night has come back every year since (usually in October). Discover Nuit Blanche (Sleepness night)... Free entrance. 

2016 : Nuit Blanche is scheduled for the night of Saturday 1th to Sunday 2nd October 

Bringing art within everyone’s reach, using it to cast a new light on the city, and generally treating everyone to a fun time. That, in a nutshell, was what Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë’s deputy for culture Christophe Girard wanted to do when he thought up the Nuit Blanche in 2002. A number of European cities (Brussels, Rome, Naples, Madrid and Riga, for example) have emulated this open, free-of-charge event. Here is more about the past ones. 




Jean Blaise, who had contrived the Les Allumés festival in Nantes, ran this first Nuit Blanche, across about 20 venues – including the City Hall that donned transatlantic-liner livery, and an old compressed-air plant, SUDAC, which plastic artist Claude Lévêque transmuted. Some 500,000 people flocked to the event and the queues only thinned at sunrise.


In 2003, six stewards ran six different chapters and themes across 110 venues.
- Ami Barak, normally in charge of Paris’ public procurement, devised the programme on light and electricity in the centre of Paris.
- Pierre Bongiovanni, who was overhauling the Gaîté Lyrique theatre at the time, came up with a collective, virtual workshop backed by choreographer William Forsythe on the Right Bank.
- City of Paris Head Curator Camille Morineau ran an interactive dialogue between Anne Ferrer’s Cabane Gourmande and Alain Bublex’s Pissenlit Cabane à Soupe, hinting at new ways of living and thriving in cities, in Paris Rive Gauche, the new and then under-construction district in Eastern Paris.
- Gérard Paquet, who was in charge of the artistic programme at the Maison des Métallos (an amateur and professional artistic and intellectual forum and venue), asked Yann Kersalé to “white-light” Canal Saint-Martin.
- City of Paris Musée d’Art Moderne director Suzanne Pagé organised a string of gatherings with artists, architects and designers, featuring Bertrand Lavier, Yona Friedman and Bruno Serralongue, in that museum.
- Robert Fleck, who was in charge of embellishing trams and tram lines with works of art, set up experimental workshops at the Cité Internationale des Arts.


Three artistic directors used more than 100 venues in Paris to entertain more than one million people.

- Ami Barak ran the “larger-than-life” chapter in central Paris, with overblown “sculptures”. A glimmering Trojan Horse by Bruno Peinado stood in a townhouse courtyard in the Marais, and Jean-François Fourtou packed Victor Hugo’s house with wild-animal “parasites”.

- Hou Hanru, an international curator of Chinese extraction, took the south by storm with a “Dazibao d’Images” in Pierre et Marie Curie University featuring 60-odd videos, and turned over the Cité Internationale Universitaire to electronic culture with audio-and-visual concerts mixed live at Cité Sonic.

“Musique Concrète” composer Nicolas Frize took over the north with a music and sound research project. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont played host to Les Marmottes Vocales, who revisited music history from Monteverdi to Kurt Weil.


Jean Blaise took the reins again and mapped out a five-trail path across northern and eastern Paris – which an estimated 1,300,000 people flooded. Those five “wanders through 3D films” shared the limelight with Versailles Off, which Laurent Le Bon contrived in several spots around Versailles Château.

Central do Paris held a Brazilian ball in the Jardin des Halles and Centre Pompidou, stretching from the Forum des Halles to the Centre Culturel Suédois.

Another central-Paris highlight stretched from the City Hall to the François Mitterrand National Library and featured François Morellet’s neon arches and waves alongside the Seine. Vincent Leroy’s Champ Mécanique (Mechanical Field) in the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital gardens was another attraction. Director Thierry Poiraud’s horror-film backdrops turned abandoned Petite Ceinture (Paris ring line) tracks into eerie settings.

The eastern trail started at Opéra Bastille and led to the Reuilly greens. It was called Drôles d’Endroits (“Droll Places”) and sought out “familiar terrors” from Steven Duval and Virginie Barré along the Promenade Plantée.

The north-eastern trail ran from the Jardin des Noisetiers to Point Ephémère. Nuit de Fête played host to the “Belleville Parade” by Andrea Crews for Maroussia Rebecq. A mock “La Nuit Blanche des Morts Vivants (“Sleepless Night of the Living Dead”) by Nicolas Boone was shot in Place Sainte Marthe.

The northern trail stretched from Saint-Jean de Montmartre church to the Petite Ceinture. The Chemins du Paradis (“Paths to Paradise”) resounded with Rhys Chatam’s A Crimson Grail Moves too Fast to See for 300 electric guitars in Sacré Cœur.


No fewer than 1,500,000 people swarmed Paris when the sun set on 7 October.

Artistic directors Jérôme Sans and Nicolas Bourriaud chose cross-fertilisation as the theme, and donned Parisian neighbourhoods in works of art. They chose the multicultural Goutte d’Or quarter in the north and the Marais in central Paris (which, as usual, attracted the biggest crowd). Karine Saporta’s dancers took over the Bercy-Tolbiac quarter in eastern Paris. Sport and art also shared the spotlight in Halle Carpentier (Paris 13), where Philippe Perrin reconstructed the Mohamed Ali vs. George Foreman boxing clash with sound and light.
The Champs-Elysées and Concorde were the highlights in western Paris. The Petit Palais flashed on Carsten Höller’s directions, Place de la Concorde around the Obélisque was flooded in IKB blue to fulfil the late Yves Klein’s wish, and the Musée des Arts Premiers on Quai Branly hosted other attractions.


The Nuit Blanche took over Metro Line 14 on the night of 6 October.

Jean-Marie Songy and Jérôme Delormas mapped out a northwest-to-southeast path using the new metro line, featuring digital films in Batignolles, an unusual giant in Olympiades station, and a Sleepless in Paris stroll – and the artistic surprises worked their magic again.


The Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon and Gare de Bercy train stations, Montparnasse and Saint-Germain, Saint-Lazare and the Champs-Elysées, the Saint-Jacques tower and the Marais district. This major celebration of contemporary art was taking over Paris on Saturday 4 October.


Saturday 3rd October 2009 sees the return of Nuit Blanche, a celebration of contemporary art from 7 p.m. until dawn. This year, the event is set to focus on three of Paris’ districts: the Buttes-Chaumont, situated to the north-east, the centre of Paris (Marais, Châtelet, etc.) and the quartier latin on the left bank.



Nuit Blanche on Saturday October 2. 



Nuit Blanche on Saturday October 1.


Nuit Blanche on October 6.



October 5 


October 4


October 3

2016 : Nuit Blanche is scheduled for the night of Saturday 1th to Sunday 2nd October 

More info here 

Send this page - new window » Send this page  Print » Print  Add to your cart - new window » Add to your cart 

Other documents

 Web ring
Paris Tourism bureau


Paris nightlife